Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is a big fan of Paul Dummett. The long-serving left-back, however, remains a divisive figure among supporters.
The Welsh international, the most recent Newcastle academy graduate to retain a place in the first-team, is solid rather than spectacular and hardly fits the mould of the traditional modern full-back.
Dummett has not produced a single assist in any of his 112 league appearances since the beginning of 2013/14. Though, ironically, even his biggest critics will welcome the 26-year-old back with open arms when he recovers from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the opening day.
With Achraf Lazaar out on loan and Massadio Haidara out of favour, there is no other senior left-back at Newcastle’s disposal – meaning Ciaran Clark, Chancel Mbemba and Jesus Gamez have been forced to fill in.
Though with The Chronicle reporting that Newcastle have sent scouts to the Bundesliga after the success of Mikel Merino’s move from Borussia Dortmund, there is no shortage of talented left-backs in Germany who could give Benitez some much needed depth.
And one in particular has stood out so far in 2017/18. Augsburg made their best ever start to a top flight season and most of the praise must go to increasingly influential left-back Philipp Max (below, right).
With Augsburg boasting a rather workmanlike midfield, the 24-year-old has taken on creative responsibility and thrived, producing four assists in just nine league appearences. The set-piece taker and arguably the best crosser of the ball in the division right now, Max has already doubled his assist tally from last season.
It seems only a matter of time before the former Schalke youngster wins his first Germany cap – especially with Joachim Low’s first-choice left-back Jonas Hector out for the foreseeable future with ankle ligament damage.
Max is everything Newcastle fans want Dummett to be. So it’s fair to say he’d be a popular addition.